3 Things about Water Damage Repair When Looking to Purchase a Home.
The story goes like this: “I just purchased this house and within a week of moving in began to notice water puddles on the kitchen floor, water stains coming through the paint and bad smells are now lingering everywhere”. Congratulations you have just purchased a property in desperate need of water damage repair. But it’s not your fault! The surreptitious sellers conveniently showed the property when no rain had fallen for days, hid the water stains with a fresh coat of paint and placed air fresheners throughout the main floor.
Weeks later after several days of rain the once hidden evidences show up like a softball through a picture window. Hidden water damage is like a nest of hibernating snakes that eventually awaken after lying dormant. Once discovered the unpleasant surprise will require attention and funds you don’t have. Water damage repair can range from affordable to needing a line of credit from your bank to afford. If there is pervasive mold discovered, you definitely will need the line of credit.
Failure to Notice the Need for Water Damage Cleanup is Common
This catastrophic case sited above is repeated time and time again as would be purchasers of “the home of their dreams” are scammed into buying the “home of another’s nightmare.” Without going into the legality of going after the sellers and involving the courts to bring about an equitable settlement, I want to focus on water damage repair itself. There are ways to recognize what water damage looks like, what water damage is and what to do about it.
3 Tips about water damage repair
Consider the following tips about water damage repair and you will become more adept and prepared to navigate the options when it is recognized. These tips can save you thousands and unnecessary headaches as an added benefit.
1) Before Making an Offer on a House Inspect it on a Rainy Day
A house may have great curb appeal, all the square footage you were hoping for and be priced right, but you need to be cautious. We all have heard the wise idiom, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”, which is a saying to caution one of the folly of judging solely on appearance.
You can be wise without being a sceptic of a good deal. The evaluation for signs of water damage, mold or other potential water related hazards is just a way to confirm a good deal. In some cases your finding will be like letting the wind out of your sails, as the deal was an illusion only. But there will be plenty of other homes without the headache of water restoration and repairs.
Why on a Rainy Day?
Remember the inspection is to be done after it rains as this will show if any water issues result from water falling on the roof or collecting at its foundation. Upon entering the property after rain has fallen, look for spots, shadows and discoloration in the paint of all the rooms. Take a non-penetrating moisture meter with you that you either bought at a hardware store (usually under 50.00) or rented from a water restoration supply company. Place it on any spot that looks suspicious and if it reads moisture, you may have uncovered a problem.
Look up at the ceiling of each room looking from water stains, spots or discoloration. Ceilings exposed to water damage are especially at risk because gravity. The integrity of the ceiling could compromise and ceilings can begin to sag with the potential of modest or complete collapse. The water source could be a bathroom or kitchen above or from the roof itself allowing water to trespass each time it rains.
The water damage repair required in a ceiling leak can be expensive encompassing beam replacement, insulation replacement as well as mold removal and cleanup. Moisture in a ceiling will almost always be accompanied by mold due to wet dry wall being food source for mold. Add to this the wet materials lingering in a dark space without UV lighting and you have the recipe for mold growth and mold spread.
Inspecting the Basement
A basement is a haven for water damage repair and can often be easy to find with the naked eye. If the basement has a sump pump evaluate the surrounding area for water staining. Look at the base of all the exterior foundation walls to see if water stains are crying out for attention, as this will definitely be evidence of a water issue. If the basement has a fresh coat of paint at the base of all the walls this could be a way of hiding the water stains. Sump pump water backups are notorious for leaving water stains at the base of the walls.
If the basement is finished look at the base of all the walls for water stains. If the walls have base moldings, inspect the base to see if the caulk line is cracked in multiple areas that would indicate they were once wet, swelled and finally contracted. If all the moldings are cracked and detached there could have been a basement flood in the past. There also could be black mold behind those moldings.
Place the moisture meter you brought on any questionable spot or area that may confirm any suspicions. If it indicates the area is dry that does not mean that it was always dry. Water staining is a strong undeniable evidence of a past event.
What the Professionals Find
Action Extraction of Macomb regularly provides water damage repair service in homes that have previously flooded and if wet materials were not professionally dried out in a quick manner mold is almost always discovered. Mold is commonly found under carpets in the wood sub-floor, behind base moldings and often in wood cabinetry.
The professional inspections we provide are based on the principles of the 3 tips about water damage repair written about in this post. If you adhere to our recommendations you too will be equipped to detect things that may have you think twice about your offer on the property in question.
2) Look for Mold, Mold Damage and Suspicious Spots.
Because mold is an invisible spore a property could possess high concentrations of various molds that could only be detected by expensive air testing. It is not recommended to have such a test unless you work it out with the seller as a requisite of passing before a purchase.
Mold however, must come from somewhere and it usually grows and spreads from moist areas of a property. If there is mold in the attic there will require an inspection so have a flashlight with you. Looking at all wood beams, substrates and under insulation, look for suspicious spots and water staining.
Kitchen and Bath Cabinets are a Haven for Mold
Look under each kitchen and bathroom sink vanity to see if any water staining or mold is in the cabinet. Often water leaks from a supply line or P-trap. Look at the base of any toilet and feel the floor around it for weaknesses and look for spots or discoloration. Toilet flanges can leak water on a floor each time it is flushed and cause mold.
Visually evaluate the walls and ceilings of each room looking for cracks, spots and potential recent paint touch-ups. If you see fresh paint that is interspersed on one or two areas inquire what they were trying to cover up; hopefully not mold.
Mold is not a DIY Solution and Requires Professional Mitigation
If you discover mold it is important to know it cannot be managed fully by inexperienced homeowners, as it is advised to be professionally mitigated. Mold removal and mitigation can be costly and you’ll definitely want to work out something fair and equitable between you and the seller.
Typically if there is mold to clean and remove there will be needed water damage repair, to make sure mold doesn’t continue to exist. Mold can be dangerous for occupants especially the very young and elderly. It can compromise one’s immune system, cause respiratory issues and allergy related symptoms. Mold is easily transmitted through the air often affecting multiple areas of the home, if not the entire home.
3) Feel Materials for Potential Water Damage
This last test requires only the neurons in your skin as you are going to rely on one of your 5 senses, the sense of touch. Your trained hand will provide you with all the evidence necessary to make a conclusive determination of past and present water damage and the potential need for water damage repair.
When any building material like dry wall, wood base or wood cabinetry gets wet, it will absorb water causing the fibers of the material to expand and swell. In the drying process as water escapes, the materials contract leaving air pockets in place of the water. This causes the properties of that material to distort, warp and become rough to the touch.
The Sense of Touch Can Expose the Presence of Water Damage
By placing your hand on the side of a wood cabinet in the kitchen or vanity in the bath room, rub the side of the cabinet at the highest point and notice the smoothness of the panel. Then place your hand at the very bottom of that cabinet and once again pass your hand over the wood. If it is equally smooth to the tough it has never been exposed to a measurable amount of moisture. If however, there is a noticeable difference and it feels swollen, rough or like rubbing your hand over graded cheese or splintering wood, than that material has gotten plenty wet in the past.
Why Mold can Thrive in Cabinetry
This is important as wood cabinetry is typically made of particle board with a decorative veneer finish. When water gets to the particle board is soaks up water quickly as it is not a dense material but filled with pockets of space eager to be filled with water. The decorative veneer over the particle board is impervious to air not allowing the wet material to dry from that side. This will force the wood cabinet to remain wet for a protracted amount of time heightening the chances for mold.
The cabinets that are found to have these evidences discovered with the passing of your hand will need to be removed and replaced as the probability of mold on the backside of the particle board is high. Additionally the subfloor beneath may require water damage repair and even mold removal mitigation.
Professional Water Damage Repair Service
While no evaluation is a guarantee of a trouble free property, these 3 things to know about water damage repair can save you from perhaps one of the biggest mistakes of your life.
If your property has some of the indication of needing water damage repair, call the professionals at Action Extraction of Macomb and we can provide you with a free inspection of your property.